On Saturday 24th April 2021, myself and Marija VK5MAZ headed to Lake Albert at Meningie, about 149km south-east of Adelaide. We intended to operate with the special event callsign of VK100AF to commemorate 4 Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel who were killed in 1942 at Lake Albert.
VK100AF and VI100AF are two special event callsigns which have been on air since 1st March 2021, to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force. Marija and I have been very lucky to take part in the event using both of the callsigns.
On the 3rd day of June 1942, an Avro Anson, No. W2370, was on a training flight from No. 6 Service Flying Training School at Mallalla. The crew on board lost their way in the darkness and after circling the town of Meningie and Lake Albert for some time, the aircraft finally crashed into Lake Albert.
The Avro Anson was a British twin-engined, multi role aircraft, which was manufactured by British aircraft manufacturer Avro (1910-1963).
A total of 6,688 MK1 Avro Anson aircraft were built. They were powered by two 350hp (261 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 1X or 395 hp (295 kW) engines. Large numbers of the Avro Anson served in various roles for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Britain, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the Canadian Air Force and numerous other air forces before, during, and after World War Two.
A total of 1,028 Ansons were operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, with the majority being MK1’s. The RAAF initially ordered 33 Ansons in November 1935 to fill the maritime reconnaissance role. The first were delivered in 1936 and 48 were in service before the start of the war. These aircraft continued to operate until 1955.
Above:- Avro Anson RAAF aircraft. Images c/o Australian War Memorial.
Here are a couple of videos on the Avro Anson……
Those killed on board the aircraft were:-
401888 Sgt. Finlay Emmerson Anderson
Aged 20 of Benalla, Victoria
412898 LAC William Stanley Butler
Aged 22 of Grenfell, NSW
4122254 Sgt. Joseph Gray Myers
Aged 25 of Ballina, NSW
403968 Sgt. Graeme Yeoman Wadlow
Aged 22 of Sydney NSW.
Above:- Headstones of the killed RAAF servicemen. Images c/o vwma.org.au
Meningie is a small town on the banks of Lake Albert. The word Meningie is derived from an aboriginal word ‘meningeng’ meaning ‘place of mud’. The town of Meningie was surveyed between March and June 1866, with land being offered for sale in August 1866.
In 1867 a jetty was erected, with paddle steamers operating between Meningie and other ports on Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina. Meningie ceased to operate as a port in December 1936.
In the Soldiers Memorial Park on the lakefront you can find the Avro Anson Memorial. It features a replica Avro Anson engine which is protected in an encasement which reflects the shape of a Nissen hut.
A little further to the north is a Monument re the crash of the Avron Anson.
It was an overcast day with patches of blue, with a slight breeze coming off Lake Albert, a fresh water lake which was named after Prince Albert, the Consort of Queen Victoria.
The area is well known for its variety of birdlife, and during our visit to Meningie we were not disappointed.
We ran the Yaesu FT857d, 40 watts and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. The antenna was inverted vee configuration and was supported by a 7 metre telescopic squid pole.
First in the log was Ken VK3DQW, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then John VK3CU.
Marija and I logged a total of 52 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and VK8. This included two park activators: John VK5HAA in the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park VKFF-0781, and Peter VK3TKK/p in the North Western Port Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2166.
We then moved to 80m where we logged 10 stations from VK5, including John VK5HAA in the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.
To conclude the activation we called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m band where we logged 11 stations from VK2, VK4, VK6, VK7, and VK8.
After a little over 2 hours at Lake Albert we had 73 contacts in the log.
We worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK3TKK/p (VKFF
We worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
- VK5HAA/p (VKFF-
We worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
Monument Australia, 2021, <https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/ww2/display/51174-lake-albert-air-crash-memorial>, viewed 15th May 2021.
Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meningie,_South_Australia>, viewed 15th May 2021.
Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Anson>, viewed 15th May 2021.
Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Albert_(South_Australia)>, viewed 15th May 2021.